Our problem became clear, and we started working on a possible solution. UX design is all about the people: People using the end product(this is our target group), and people affected by the end product(stakeholders). In order to define how the target group behaves, we need to think about our problem as well.
Defining the people
Our digital product is defined for the people who use it. Our end product and solution to the problem we defined was student burnout rate in higher education. We saw an increased rate of student burnout among our fellow students, and we wanted answers: We also wanted to help them, another important UX designer skills. Without empathy and the desire to help people around us the UX designer is obsolete.
Who are the people experiencing burnout in higher education? From the research our team conducted* the students could be defined in two different categories:
High-achieving people who identify as women with history of mental illness
low-achieving people who identify as men with difficulty to balance workload: they are either putting too little or too much effort into the tasks they are given
Both of these categories were struggling with difficulty to identify and assess accurately how much work do different tasks take: They could take on too many courses, fail to factor in family demands(some of the students we interviewed were parents), or have a hard time saying no at work, causing a pile-up of work-related tasks.
Goals, goals, goals
Our team had defined the problem: increased rate of burnout among students. How would we tie the UN sustainable development goals in? We agreed that the goals our solution would benefit were the Quality education and Decent work and economic growth. School should be a place of well-being, but we are seeing it fail in its task: students are left to study and manage their time independently with no regard to important life management skills. Why are these not taught more in universities? We also know that those who burn out are prone to repeating the behaviours resulting in that. Burn out, unlike depression, is due exterior reasons mostly: Our work and school environment and burden is the main cause of burn out. Sufficed to say, more attention should be given to assessing these environments more, and focus on prevention.
Next in part 3: mapping and prototyping
*research consisted of reading and analysing research papers on subject matter, and the interviews we conducted.
Ps: Here's some pictures of the great food we had. Who cannot love a giant pretzel sandwich? :D Also my room was very comfortable for the price of 40 euros a night.